Ward Room
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Two Towns Accused of Stealing Cook County Taxes

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Complaint alleges Kankakee and Channahon part of a scheme to divert sales tax to their towns.

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Cook County officials have filed a lawsuit against Kankakee and Channahon, claiming the two towns are willing participants in a scheme to divert sales tax.

The 12-count complaint, announced Monday by County President Toni Preckwinkle and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, claims that businesses with warehouses in Cook County were urged to set up "virtually empty" offices in those two towns to make it appear the transactions are taking place in the lower-tax areas.

"What that means is that we don't get our fair share of sales taxes, even though we cover the cost of services and infrastructure that support these businesses," Preckwinkle said.

The two towns are accused of offering 85 percent kickbacks on the sales tax revenue.

"Even after paying these significant kickbacks, the towns have still generated millions of dollars in revenues because of the lower tax rate," Alvarez said.

The City of Chicago and the Regional Transportation Authority have also filed similar lawsuits against Kankakee and Channahon.

"We are looking to the courts to grant us remedies that are afforded under the law and that they pay their fair share going forward," Preckwinkle said.

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